Boston Globe: Costs at heart of emergency shelter eligibility debate

Advocates call it one of the state’s cruelest requirements. Before some poor homeless families can qualify for taxpayer-funded shelter and motel rooms, they must spend a night in a place “unfit for human habitation” — such as an emergency room, park bench, or campground — to be legally homeless in the eyes of the state.

To change that, the state Senate quietly passed a measure last month dropping the mandate. Supporters say the move would cost the state little in added caseload — just a few hundred thousand dollars a year — and would spare parents and children from having to endure a night of hardship to satisfy a bureaucratic checklist.

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